Signicat is 10 years this year

Signicat was started in 2007, which means we are 10 years old this year.

During the 10 years Signicat has existed, there has been a rapid development in the use of electronic identity. A combination of forces have driven this development. On the one hand, the desire for digitization of services that previously required physical attendance and manual steps. On the other hand, stricter requirements for security and privacy. As the leading provider of identity services to regulated industries in the Nordics, Signicat has played an important part in this development.

When we started in 2007, the eID market in the Nordic region was just about to take off. All four Nordic countries had their solutions for electronic identity, and after a long introductory phase, the markets were reaching a critical mass both with regard to issued IDs and service providers where the eIDs could be used. In Norway, BankID was the leading solution for electronic identity and the first banks began issuing eID to their customers already in 2003. But it was only when service providers with support for eID began to appear that the usage of eID started to grow rapidly.

Signicat was an early facilitator of the use of eID for banking and financial services. Fully digitized consumer loan processing with eID and eSignature was developed for the online store already in 2005, while Signicat was still a department in the consulting company we were spun out of. Since then, we have helped many other banks and finance institutions with replacing tedious manual procedures with electronic identity and electronic signature.

After more than 10 years of rollout of electronic identity in the Nordic region, there is little evidence that the growth is slowing. New and easy-to-use solutions like BankID on mobile continue to drive growth. In Sweden alone there were more than 2.5 billion logins with BankID in 2016. The potential for digitization is far from exhausted.

But what about Europe outside the Nordic region?

Signicat has had presence in the Netherlands since the autumn of 2015, and since December 2016 also in London. Currently we work with customers in the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Spain and several other European countries. There is no doubt that the use of eID in these countries is not as far developed as in the Nordic countries. Perhaps the level of maturity is about the same as in the Nordic region 10 years ago. The question is whether it will take another 10 years before Europe is on par with the Nordic countries.

I think the answer to this question is “no”. The reason is that drivers that were strong in 2007 have become even stronger over the past 10 years. Electronic identity is in many cases the last missing piece to get full-digitized processes. We have smart phones that can be used for two-factor authentication replacing inconvenient and expensive technologies that required purpose built hardware. On top of this, European initiatives such as PSD2, OpenBanking and GDPR are pushing for better and more widespread solutions for electronic identity.

Signicat’s value proposition to customers in Europe is the same as in the Nordic countries: A single point of connection for easiest access to a wide range of electronic identity services. This is especially important when technology and infrastructure are in rapid development. Our services for the initial proofing of electronic identity are also important in markets where there is no established third party electronic identity infrastructure, as we have in the Nordic countries. The fact that our online services meet or will meet requirements in regulations and directives such as eIDAS, GDPR and PSD2 are also helping users to get started with electronic identity.

For Signicat, the first 10 years have been an exciting journey where we have contributed to making electronic identity a critical community infrastructure in the Nordic region. In the next few years, we hope to be able to repeat this journey, and bring the experience of the first 10 years to the larger European market, making electronic identity just as widespread here as well.

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